Earlier this year, we took a look at the Rays’ roster and showed that outside of David Price, the rest of the core group could potentially have very little change in the next few seasons. But that was when we thought this team was a World Series contender.

Now there is speculation about trading players other than David Price, including Ben Zobrist. And there is Kevin Kiermaier, who has been one bright spot in a bleak season.

First of all, these are the players, that based on status, cost, and contract situation, are whom I believe to be locks for the 2015 roster.

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Trading Veterans

The key players missing from this are David Price, Jeremy Hellickson, Ben Zobrist, Desmond Jennings, and Matt Joyce. I would not be surprised if any or all of them are traded before next season.

We all know the Price situation. Jennings will be arbitration-eligible this off-season which means his price is about to go up. In addition, he suddenly looks expendable with Kiermaier playing so well defensively. The Rays may prefer to trade Joyce, but he is more likely to be an additional piece in a bigger deal, much like Wade Davis in the James Shields trade.

Zobrist will likely draw a lot of interest. He has one year left on his contract at what many big-revenue teams would consider a reasonable price ($7.5 million) but what may be a little too much for the Rays to pay a player in his mid-30s with declining production.

As for Hellickson, he is a good pitcher and still relatively cheap. But if you ranked the starting pitchers in the entire organization based on talent, he’s not even in the top 10.

Filling the holes

Sean Rodriguez could fill in as part of a second base platoon. Kiermaier could move to left field or center field, with David DeJesus taking the other. That leaves the DH spot open, again.

The Wild Card is Mikie Mahtook who is hitting much better in triple-A than I would have expected and should be a plus-defender with decent speed. But I would be surprised if the Rays were ready to make him a big leaguer on opening day next season.

The Rays have lots of options to fill the final spot in the rotation if both Price and Hellickson are traded. Alex Colome is dominating triple-A in his first four starts since returning from his suspension.

In addition, the Rays have Nate Karns, Mike Montgomery, and Enny Romero in triple-A, all of whom are close to being big league-ready.

As for the bullpen, the last three spots will likely be filled with triple-A pieces or cheap free agents.

That leaves a roster that could look like this, with just bench and bullpen holes to fill.

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11 Comments

  1. Rob says:

    Forsythe looks ready to step into that starting 2B role if Zobrist is traded (sarcasm). Seriously, though, I would hate to see them trade both Jennings and Joyce. With the dearth of talent in the OF, we need to keep one of those guys. As for 2B, if Lee can get back on track, he could be a possibility. I guess Beckham could be too if he comes back from surgery – he seemed like he was moving in the right direction last year. I think .245, 10, 55 is a realistic rookie season for him. Lee could be a .280, 4, 40 guy with a bunch of steals and great D.

  2. Dave L says:

    If we trade both Price and Zobrist (as I suggested we would not extend him in the winter) That would free up upwards of $25M in 2015 $$$ which is over 1/4 our payroll.

    Then we are left with Longo at $11M and plenty of money saved on everyone else. And TV revenue will keep up.

    As for Helli and Joyce, being arb. eligible the question is what will we get in value of return really vs their production. Losing Zo would lose a lefty bat could we really afford to lose Joyce too? The only lefties on Corks incomplete Roster is DeJesus and Loney both with weak power. And the bats in Durham are most all righties too.

    Sure he’s streaky but I would continue to pay Joyce he’s worth more to our lineup than his trade value.

    As for Helli it all depends how he pitches on his return. If he pitches well then we would want to keep him to give the young guys a chance to not be pressed like Odorizzi whos a year early. If he scuffles whats his trade value after two unproductive injury riddled years? Might as well keep them both IMO.

    As Boras clients we would never have extended Jennings or Helli but in retrospect, would we have wanted to?

    No. So Boras did us a favor.

    I would only trade Jennings for something of decent value. Kiermeir replaces his speed but we are one of the least fleet footed teams in MLB to begin with. Guyer will never be as good as even Jennings in any facet of the game outside of arm. He’s already older we forget. so what you see is what you get. If Guyer’s our DH in 2015 heaven help us.

  3. Kevin says:

    Yikes, not a good team. And Matt Moore will not be ready on opening day. Prospects are valued more highly then ever before and therefore I do not expect the team will get back a pitcher who will immediately be better then Cobb, Moore or Archer. Yes, there might be some money available but that team does not have an Ace (Cobb may be a legit #1 but not a true ace, imo) and after Cobb it’s #3/4 starters.

    • brianknowsbest says:

      lets not forget that david price should yeild , major league ready prospects. which could fill those holes quite nicely.

    • Craig says:

      I agree with the “yikes!” sentiment. With all the “Price to the Dodgers” trade talk I find myself looking up their prospects and wondering what will actually happen. The projected 2015 lineup above looks close to a rebuilding mode.

  4. brianknowsbest says:

    you know what would be the cats pajamas. if we trade price, get everything we want and more. then sign James Shields as a free agent on a discount.

  5. herkcy says:

    JHell not even top 10 in talent in whole organization. Joke! I can see why you didn’t attach your name to this article.

  6. phil says:

    Price to the Cards for Shelby Miller and Pisscoty ( in AAA currently who is a top prospect)

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